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Omaha Magazine

A Human Space: Dvorak Law Group’s Office Design Values People

Jan 15, 2021 03:12PM ● By Jeff Lacey
bar/lounge area of Dvorak Law Group

Photography by Bill Sitzmann

The current location of Dvorak Law Group’s offices at 95th and Dodge streets wasn’t necessarily a love-at-first-sight situation. The firm had previously considered occupying the Broadmoor-owned building, but ultimately hadn’t been interested. 

“I would jog by, and it just didn’t feel right at first,” executive vice president David Mayer said.   

That is, until TACK Architects redid the lobby.  

“We had looked at this building before, and they had redone the office space and we had passed [on the idea], but then one day Dave was jogging by and looked in, and he called me right away,” president David Dvorak explained. “I remember Dave said, ‘This looks different. It’s modern and clean and inviting. You’ve got to check it out.’ So we did.”

Those walking in the front doors of Dvorak are greeted by light, space, and local art. Rebecca Harding, the TACK principal architect in charge of the project, explained that one of the primary goals was to create clean, bright, functional space, and also make it comfortable, saying: “It can be intimidating to walk into a law office, but we’ve worked to make this space very welcoming, and it’s not an intimidating place to be.”

One of the driving values behind the revisioning was that the office was first and foremost a human place to be. 

“We wanted to avoid huge individual offices, and inefficient use of space,” Dvorak explained. “We weren’t concerned about individual offices as much as we were the usability of the space, and making it a really inviting place to work.”

The individual offices are spartan, all sharing white walls, lots of light, and furniture with clean lines. Mayer explained that they are meant to be places for people to think, write, and work. Dvorak and Mayer have offices that are hardly distinguishable or larger than others on their floors. The senior partners wanted to value their customers and clients by devoting the best square footage to them. 

Those spaces include a mixed-use lounge/community room and working cafe. According to Harden, the lounge occupies “the best real estate on the main floor.” A long, warm space that features dark wood tones, minimalist furniture, and accent lighting in the firm’s signature color of dark reddish-purple, the lounge is meant to foster a sense of comfort and openness.    

Mayer also explained how the flexibility of the lounge has improved the atmosphere of the firm, saying, “We can have a formal conference here at 3 or 4 in the afternoon, and then turn the clock off and continue the conference…over an appetizer or cocktail. You can learn more talking during that two hours than you might have during the two-hour meeting.”

Another space meant to value clients and employees is the cafe, which offers food from Evolve Juicery and Kitchen, a local company specializing in paleo cuisine. Dvorak said the cafe “Is all about our employees. Let’s make food available, drinks available, let’s have an experience with each other.” 

Besides these creative, inclusive uses of space, there are details throughout the office that make it unique. Pieces by local artists such as Christopher Prinz and David Patterson adorn the walls and are integrated strategically throughout the floor plan. A piece by Patterson entitled ‘Trees’ hangs along one wall of a conference room, and visually leads to a view of a stand of trees outside, framed by the conference room’s long bank of windows. All the meeting rooms are unique blends of furniture and materials. In one of these rooms, a great round table hewn from Patagonia granite from Brazil serves as the focal point.

The project is currently entering its third phase, which involves the second floor. Dvorak and TACK are continuing to look for ways to foster a sense of inclusivity and to value the people who work there.

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This letter was in the February/March 2021 issue of B2B.